|The Golden Rule
||[Jun. 22nd, 2011|11:00 am]
Because I'm a lazy sod I've never actually researched the allegation that the sayings of Jesus are plagiarised. Perhaps I will. One shouldn't pass these things on without being sure of the facts. The alleged sources are Jewish, Egyptian even Buddhist. Would first century writers in the Middle East have had access to Buddhist teachings? I don't see why not? If the citizens of Pompeii had Hindu figurines on their sideboards- and they did- why not Buddhist scriptures in their libraries?|
One (positive) way of viewing the Christian scriptures is as a compendium of the wisdom of the ages.
OK, I'm going to do the research. How hard can it be? Here's something for starters.
One of the things Jesus is supposed to have originated, only he didn't is the so-called golden rule. Among those who got there before him was the great Jewish rabbi, Hillel (who died c. AD 10). Challenged to summarise the Law while standing on one leg, Hillel came up with, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn."
Now this is a tagline I will be watching for -- I am fascinated by the anthropology of religion, but very well aware that I lack the educational groundwork and resources to even scratch the surface of which monk swiped which myth from whence, and why it seemed the thing to do at the time.
And yet when one compares basic mythic story structures between the Bible and just about any other source, the patterns are plain to discern. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the history I rather knew had to be there.
*Watches over your shoulder.*
This is something I should have done ages ago. Of course the Internet makes it easier. All the texts I want to be looking at seem to be online.
I've been looking at their copy of the Book of Enoch, but I hadn't been to their main page. Wow, what an amazing collection of stuff!
2011-06-22 03:04 pm (UTC)
PS - you'll find this in line, I'm sure - I'm racking my memory for the author - but there was a well-known work in the 1980s, called Jesus the Jew, that dealt "very firmly" with the weird and very 20th century notion that Jesus was entirely opposed to all Jewish tradition and teaching.
That is a weird idea.
I don't think I've read it. My reading of Christian texts tailed off in the mid 80s.
Why would anyone harbor a notion that Jesus was opposed to Jewish tradition and teaching? Circumcized on the eighth day, studied in the Temple, however briefly, quoted the Law and the Prophets endlessly as truths, referred at least one who wanted to follow him to go to the Law and the Prophets, said that he did not come to abolish the Law, and the night before he died he celebrated a Passover with his disciples. This does not sound like someone who was opposed to Jewish teachings and tradition. Also, to top it off, when Pilate asked him "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus responded, "You said it."
2011-06-22 09:32 pm (UTC)
Why indeed? But it was widely held for centuries in Western Christendom. We're back again to the difference between what might be formally taught and what is widely held to be the case.
Three of your examples aren't all that strong - he didn't choose to be circumcised, there is some question whether the Last Supper was in fact a Passover celebration, and there is more than one interpretation of the reply to Pilate - but your principal point remains valid.